News article, New Faces: Young entrepreneur dips into the business world

Young Entrepreneur Dips into the Business World



The City

Address: Centre Mall, across from Bath and Body Works

Phone: 306-881-0269

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Anastasia Szalasznyj decided to get her feet wet in the business world after growing tired of trying to keep them dry.

"I could never find winter footwear that was stylish, but still warm and grippy," she said. "So I decided to design my own women's' winter boots."

In 2013, while still a linguistics and entrepreneurship student at the University of Saskatchewan, Szalasznyj launched Winter Girl Boots and Accessories as an online-only company. Although she relied on her professors for advice and encouragement at first, her success in several entrepreneurship competitions validated her efforts.

Perhaps more importantly, the "classically elegant" synthetic leather boots and snap-on accessories she designed were an immediate success, she said.

"I was just looking for something to get started with (in entrepreneurship). To my luck, the boots really took off and we've had many repeat customers. I'm very happy with the way my business has been going."

Earlier this year, Szalasznyj decided to transition from online sales to bricks and mortar. She found a location in Saskatoon's Centre Mall and forged relationships with two clothing lines.

In addition to her Winter Girl Boots and Accessories, The City - which opened its doors in late summer - carries Arctic North parkas and SASK Clothing, which Szalasznyj describes as a lifestyle brand for men, women and children.

Szalasznyj regards opening the store as the natural extension of not just her own business, but her career in the retail industry. Before starting Winter Girl, she spent five years working in retail and became fascinated with fashion and footwear.

Although she expects online sales to become increasingly important for young entrepreneurs and emerging businesses, she was happy to anchor her enterprise in a physical location. If nothing else, it signals that her business is growing.

"As a young entrepreneur, I'm really glad to have had an online store," she said. "But having a physical presence is definitely a lot of fun and adds a different aspect and element to the business, too.";